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BMW Presents Concept Link — A Vision of Future, Zero-Emission Urban Mobility

“Function over form” might come to mind when looking at BMW’s new Concept Link unveiled last week at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017. The concept incorporates modern “connected” technology … seemingly utilizing advanced cell phone capabilities within the two wheeler. Here are several photos and a video, as well as the full BMW press release:

Munich. At the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017, the BMW Group is presenting its vision of zero-emission urban mobility on two wheels: the BMW Motorrad Concept Link. Inspired by the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, the design study unites digital connectivity with the demands of urban mobility on two wheels. It treads new paths and moves beyond established conventions both with regard to design and technology.

“The BMW Motorrad Concept Link stands for a new understanding of urban mobility. It links the digital and analogue world and places the focus on the rider and his mobility needs. In the way it links functionality and digitalisation it performs both as a means of transport as well as a communication device.  For me the BMW Motorrad Concept Link, with its timeless and reduced style, is more than a concept – it is rather a symbol for a new era.” explains Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design of BMW Motorrad.

Design as a distinguishing and segment-defining feature.
The special character of the concept vehicle becomes clear right away thanks to the completely new design language. “The BMW Motorrad Concept Link is not based on today’s concepts, but rather meets the basic functionality needs, the technical architecture and the digital reality of today’s users. The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment. The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns.” explains Alexander Buckan, Head of Vehicle Design at BMW Motorrad.

The low-slung, stretched body and the flat seat combined with the diagonally rising front section create a modern yet distinctive silhouette. The use of colours emphasises this even further: the front trim in Liquid Metal Titanium contrasts with the semi-matt black body. The colours are oriented diagonally which underlines the dynamic potential of the BMW Motorrad Concept Link.

Tailor-made for the requirements of urban mobility.
The new and emphatically function-driven architecture provides a high level of riding pleasure due to the E-drive. The BMW Motorrad Concept Link is ideally suited to meet the requirements of modern urban mobility with fast acceleration and easy handling. Due to its low overall height, getting on is easy from the side or even from the back. A reverse gear ensures that it is easy to manoeuvre, making it ideal to park in tight city spaces.

The seat bench can be adjusted lengthwise to suit every preference. The proportions also make room for new storage space. In the centre section, underneath the seat bench, a luggage compartment offers versatile storage opportunities. The rider can access this quickly and easily at all times using a sliding door. With its new architecture, the BMW Motorrad Concept Link combines riding pleasure and functionality in an ideal way.

Clear shapes and modern technology.
Taking a closer look, clear lines, large-area surfaces and simple, precise shapes emphasise the state-of-the-art look of the BMW Motorrad Concept Link. The two-tone colour design reinforces this further. A large matt black area, the technical heart, shapes the core of the concept. It stretches from the front to the rear, and in addition to the tyres and front lights, also integrating the drive unit and the suspension elements. The two iconic LEC front lights are characterised by minimalist design. Their clear-cut layout and the slim contours accentuate the modern and trail-blazing visual appeal of the front section.

The powerfully expressive contours of the side panels framing the dark core of the vehicle, optimise aerodynamics and also provide protection against wind and weather. The sides of the wheels are completely covered, underscoring the contemporary overall visual appeal.

The BMW Motorrad Concept Link also deliberately showcases the technology used as part of the design package. That is why the side panels don’t completely cover the side section at the rear. Instead they stretch across the vehicles side like little wings allowing views of the technical elements like drive unit, cooling ribs, single-sided swing arm, spring strut and tooth belt. At the same time they help improve aerodynamic air flow.

The iconic rear lights have been integrated into the rear side panels in the form of two C-shaped light elements.

Deliberate contrasts and numerous individualisation options.
Contrasts are deliberately played on in conjunction with the clear shapes of the BMW Concept Link to give it a powerful and impressive appearance. The orange-coloured cables connecting battery pack and drive on the right side are highly contrasting in appearance and make a clear and self-assured statement. Their diameter already hints at the power in the drive unit.

The seat bench also makes both a functional and visually powerful statement, the flat seat area being kept separate from the vehicles body. This emphasises the lightness of the side view thereby highlighting the agile and easy handling. The seat bench allows views of the aluminium structure within.

It can be adapted to suit different needs in numerous ways. It can be either a sporty single-seater, a seat bench for two or anything in between giving the concept vehicle a distinctive visual and functional character.

Further customisation options, such as side panels in different colours or different windshields, allow the rider to express his personality, making the BMW Motorrad Concept Link the ideal companion for any situation.

Connecting rider, vehicle and environment.
Inspired by the BMW Motorrad Vision NEXT 100, the BMW Motorrad Concept Link interprets the connection between rider, vehicle and the environment for urban use. It keeps the rider connected while riding, thereby expanding his mobile world by providing him with new opportunities. Among other things, the Concept vehicle knows what’s in the rider’s calendar and therefore his next destinations. As a result it can plan the fastest or most scenic route and even select the most suitable music if required.

The focus is also on being able to enjoy the riding experience without any distractions. The classic instrument cluster has been dropped. Instead speed, navigation and battery information is projected onto the windshield directly into the rider’s field of vision. Secondary information is displayed on the large-surface panel, which matches the design perfectly and is located below the handlebars. The panel enables a large number of possible ways of interacting with the outside world and for communicating with other vehicles. The touch sensitive surface of the large-size panel displays and controls extensive infotainment, connectivity and routing information. Freely programmable, touch-enabled buttons on the handlebars allow the rider to access preferred and frequently used functions without having to remove his hands from the handlebars.

Intelligent rider equipment.
The interaction between vehicle and rider wear holds great potential with regard to rider safety, comfort, functionality and riding experience. On the BMW Motorrad Concept Link, the rider equipment is also connected to the vehicle. To highlight this connection, a motion on the arm of the jacket opens and closes the sliding door of the luggage compartment.

A stitch on the arm signifies the active area. The rider wear is also a fashion statement and deliberately not recognisable as motorcycle gear. Light shoulder and elbow protectors have been integrated into the stylish short coat made of water-repellent loden cloth. However they are not visible in the modern cut of the coat.

With the combination of the emission-free, dynamic drive, a new design language, connectivity and fashionable yet functional rider equipment, the BMW Motorrad Concept Link embodies BMW Motorrad’s understanding of the future of urban mobility.


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63 Comments

  1. Tron says:

    Why can’t any manufacturers produce concepts that aren’t wretched looking?

  2. Jeremy in TX says:

    I’ll paddle against the current here and say I think this little scooter looks pretty damn cool to me. I think these kinds of bikes have a bright future in the urban word.

    • Scottie says:

      The issue with urban setting is where to charge it. Here in Manhattan you only get power if you park in a garage. Most garages do have power now – saw a Tesla where we park our truck – but that’s an extra expense an inconvenience compared to just parking your scoot on the street, walking out the door and zipping away.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        A very legitimate point assuming you have to plug the whole bike in. Zero has a couple of bikes that have easily removable battery packs. If not a feature on this machine, then perhaps it will thrive in the suburban environment then for those who commute to the city?

  3. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    A “vision” I can “unsee”

  4. Skif says:

    The perfect second bike for all you Honda NM4 owners.

  5. Lenz says:

    This prototype from BMW appears to work on the premise that a machine that offers extreme efficiency must have all the appeal of a stainless steel kitchen. Motorcycles are still stripped down, elemental creatures regardless of their power source – “Make it so Herr BMW”

  6. Mr.Mike says:

    Probably fun to ride around town as long as you don’t look at it. Not sure why it needs to be “connected”. I’d probably need to be a Millennial to appreciate that part.

  7. Gary says:

    Tote Goat … great model name. BMW should snap it up before it is a registered trademark.

    https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/mcy/6156373968.html

  8. ABQ says:

    Maybe if BMW put three wheels on it and sold it as a mobiity scooter for the disabled.

  9. CrazyJoe says:

    This isn’t a Vespa Electrica but we know BMW can design a decent looking scooter. What happened? Maybe they gave the designer a week to come up with something. My taste goes with less massively plastic looking things like Vespa’s 946 or Peugeot’s Django. They could take a look at Italjet’s electric bicycles because that’s where it all started. A bike with a motor.

  10. john welch says:

    The whole zero emission thing is a joke. Take the Toyota hydrogen vehicle that ‘only’ emits water. What they do not tell you is it takes ~42 KWh of electricity to produce 1 kg of hydrogen. Do the math using natural gas generated power to produce the KWh’s and the hydrogen vehicle emits ~TWICE the CO2 of a Toyota Corolla with an internal combustion engine. Approximately 60% of the electrical energy California produces uses Natural Gas.

    • Random says:

      The hydrogen obsession of Japan is quite understandable, as its government is aiming to change the whole energetic matrix for a electricity and hydrogen-based one (including clean energetic generation), there’s a view about it in a competing motorcycle magazine site. Obviously the zero emission is a falacy wherever there’s petrol involved, but there are many places with significant eletrical energy production from other sources, and then the question is if hydrogen or batteries are the most efficient/effective method of managing said energy.

    • Gary says:

      Your argument is flawed. You assume the 42 KWh needed will necessarily be generated by energy that produces carbon dioxide. Not necessarily true.

    • Lenz says:

      Mr Welch your CO2 generation premise is flawed at so many levels both present and future. Renewable energy generation is entirely capable of hydrogen production through the electrolysis of water without a single gram of CO2 being produced.

      In a system using renewable sources (solar, wind, etc) the percentage of generation diverted into hydrogen production can be varied to manage demand / supply balances plus produce hydrogen fuel for vehicles and base load generation through hydrogen fuelled power cells.

  11. Gary says:

    “A Vision of Future”

    Not mine!

  12. red says:

    I’m thinking we, the readers of MC daily, are not the target market for this contraption.

    Or at least I hope not, for some bmw product managers sake.

  13. Tom R says:

    Reminds me of a Rokon, or Cushman.

    And I’m shocked, shocked to be considered a Cranky Pants. Now get off my lawn.

    • Bart says:

      TR, had similar thoughts re: Rokon. Betting this one won’t float across a stream.

      Shocked as well. Now quit texting and pick your dog’s poop off my lawn…you do have the app for that?!

  14. falcodoug says:

    Lame.

  15. Ricardo says:

    Unveil at the Concorso d’Eleganza? I don’t see anything elegant about this bike. Just flat surfaces and modernistic design to attract the new generations. Thank you I will stick with Art Decco design.

  16. Sneed Hurn says:

    I love it when they say zero emission vehicle. Really, where did the electricity come from to power this thing. Some where emissions were expelled. I’m sure they are talking about the bike itself but unless this thing is solar powered it is not a zero emission vehicle. Nothing in this world is zero emission.

    • Tom R says:

      I wonder if electricity generated from nuclear power counts with the Lib-greens as zero emission energy?

      • Gary says:

        I don’t know who “lib greens” are, but if you mean people who are interested in helping make the U.S. a leader in sustainable energy sources then I guess I qualify. So I’ll pipe up.

        Nuclear energy is not sustainable because there is a limited supply of fissionable material, and because it produces a toxic byproduct. So, no, it doesn’t “count” (whatever that means).

        What “counts” are energy sources that can’t be depleted, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal. As long as we’re spinning around a burning sun, they will be available and plentiful.

        Listen, pal, no one more than me likes the sound of a sweet high-performance gas engine stretching its legs. But the day will come when that goes the way of the dinosaur, and anyone who thinks about it a minute knows this is so. It just makes sense to gear up for it now.

        • austinzzr 1200 says:

          Gary, its the last of climate-denying the baby-boomer whiners. Dont worry, that generation is almost gone..

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Why do these kinds of comments always come up? The bike itself generates no emissions, therefore it is a zero emmisions bike. They aren’t peddling a zero emmisions powerplant here

      The subject has been beaten to death enough that people get the whole “electricity usually isn’t zero emmisions” thing. Regardless, there is still a benefit to not generating emmisions at the tail pipe even if we disregard the ever increasing trickle of clean juice into our power grid.

    • Daytona James says:

      Thank you, Jeremy in Tx… it appears the reason many are discrediting projects like this is the idea that generation is not zero emission. First, this clearly has nothing to do with the bike. Second, alt sources can generate power at peak periods (sunny or windy times), and charge these vehicles when most appropriate. Zero emits does not take into account the manufacture of the infrastructure of alt energy but… come on… tripping over fly sh*t. We’re on a path to cleaner energy guys… deal with it.

    • Gary says:

      Where it comes from is sort of up to us. And I think that’s precisely the point.

  17. thrus says:

    clothing based controls meaning you have no pick in jacket based on the weather, and a passenger seat but no where that I can see for their feet. tiny brake/turn signals. no where to put a license plate that won’t look like an afterthrought. I’m getting form over function not the reverse

  18. charlie says:

    If they could make it fold up and fit into the trunk of a tiny car. Oh wait, I’m showing my age again. That was Honda’s Motocompo and it was beeper and PacMan compatible.

  19. Stratkat says:

    like it or not (i dont mind it so much, and im of the ‘older generation’ – 56…) BMW is going to lead us into the new world.

    • Jabe says:

      I’m of the ‘older generation’ as well and thinking that while BMW is leading us into the new world, maybe they could actually make battery technology worth considering because so far it’s not for the vast majority of us.

      The energy density of even the best batteries is not realistic for those of us that cover more than 30 to 50 miles a day, and the charge rates are far to slow. There is also the matter that most of our electricity comes from places like coal burning and nuclear power plants (at least where I live). Hardly a clean solution.

      When they can makes batteries hold more energy, charge faster, cost less and do it minus the pollution, then I will jump on board. Until then I will fill the tank with some 93 octane and leave the extension chord at home.

  20. Auphliam says:

    The reaction from the “older” set is not surprising. That there is quite a leap ahead in design form compared to what currently makes sense to us. To the up and coming brain chip generation, though, I imagine it is nearly orgasmic.

    Personally, I don’t know what to think. Not sure about those grips, but I imagine that’s just your standard “the production model won’t have these” fare. I am a bit clumsy so it would probably take me all of 5 minutes to catch that chain-restaurant-menu-holder windshield on my jacket cuff and break it clean off. Other than that, would I ride it given the chance? Heck yeah, I’d give ‘er a twist. Would I buy one? Very doubtful…but I prolly wouldn’t buy any scooter. I’m not ready for my brain activated personal electronic device yet anyway.

  21. Steve Bradshaw says:

    Thank God, now Riders will be able to maneuver their scooters. Its been so darn difficult with no reverse gear. I am sure no one will ever want one of those old fashioned monodirectional drive jobbies.

  22. Half Baked says:

    form follows function so it would be difficult for function to come before form. Having said that I think that BMW can expect to do well with this bike since the cranky pants gang here at MC Daily almost universally panned it.

    • Xootrx says:

      Love it. “Cranky Pants.” As always, the shortest, most direct description is the best.

    • austinzzr 1200 says:

      What part of ‘concept’ does this group of cranky pants not understand? No tank seams or beak, btw

  23. todd says:

    Picture the storage compartment opening and closing while I’m trying to wipe the cat hair off my coat.
    It’s really hard to beat an old Honda Elite for urban gettinaround and parking it under your front stoop. , at least it has a seat and handgrips and two little thingys that let you see what’s coming up behind you.

  24. austinzzr 1200 says:

    I’m shocked to be making the first Tron reference..

  25. Gary says:

    Nice techno features, dumb looks, gawdallful looking seat. Why is it that most concepts seem to forget about sane looks, and altogether forget about comfort. No thanks Beemer, some ideas here are good, but others just plain suck.

  26. Bart says:

    Needs a carbon fiber cloud-enabled milk crate for picking up organic e-grocery orders.

  27. dt 175 says:

    which rollerball team/corporation was munich, beer & brats?..

  28. skybullet says:

    How to out Bangle, Bangle. Anyone who had a hand in the design of this piece of cr–p should make BMW’s employee dump list.

  29. redbirds says:

    Machines such as this will surely bring a renewed interest in walking.

    • Dino says:

      Agreed.. someone finally beat Honda at their own game (creating the weirdest concept cycle that only the engineers could love)

      Maybe a solar powered Bluetooth link for live FaceTime with the cars that are nearby do you can share a virtual goober latte?

  30. steveinsandiego says:

    i’m about ready for something like it, with fewer and shorter trips on my horizon. the beemer is too much gadgetry for me. i’ll wait til one of the japanese manufacturers offers up something a bit more sane. have you laid your eyeballs on the acura 750 scooter?

  31. Curly says:

    Not very appealing. I’ll take some form and function please.

  32. Butch says:

    When they say the seat is like sitting on a 2×4, they really mean it.

  33. JED says:

    Sorry I meant Dirck, hard to see mistakes on this asphalt background on my phone.

  34. JED says:

    No….just no. What a load of horse shit. BMW, you have forgotten the face of your father! Makes me glad that as I turn 60, and continue to ride motorcycles as we know them,, that I won’t see the day this becomes the accepted norm. (Not “Norm”)
    Thanks for keeping us updated though Dierk, sad as the news is. Outstanding job as always.

  35. ABQ says:

    Maybe I will wait for the H-D Livewire E-bike.

  36. Martin B says:

    Another monstrosity from a dystopian future. At least it has some storage capacity, so it’s more practical than Honda’s equivalents. God help us if awful creations like this make onto the road near where we live.

  37. Eddy G says:

    An e-scooter for the European market would make sense. Add a decent fairing and storage to this concept design exercise and you can have a viable product for that area.

  38. mechanicus says:

    5 foot wide streets in some Italian town maybe. Around here dont make me laugh. Some gomer in a jacked up bro dozer would flatten you like squashing a june bug.

  39. Chase says:

    One step closer to a Wall-E world.

  40. marloweluke says:

    I suspect riding that thing in the rain is not included in its portfolio. It looks like it would send a spectacular shower of water from the rear wheel all over the back side of your business suit.

  41. Bob says:

    Looks like a post-apocalyptic Helix.

  42. tla says:

    could be fun…